CorrectionIn our April 2 "Art & Culture" story, "Jumping the gender fence: Deporting the Divas ' amusing confusion," we reported that Guillermo Reyes directed the world premiere of Deporting the Divas in Los Angeles seven years ago. In fact, Dr. Jorge Huerta directed the premiere. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion it might have caused.
Re: "School budget process cries out for understanding" ["Editorial," March 20]. Thank you for your insightful and courageous editorial concerning the flawed budgetary process currently employed by San Diego City Schools (SDCS). The problem is further exacerbated by the district's disdain toward parental input. Witness this partial exchange between myself and the SDCS communications department:I wrote, "According to [district Supt. Alan] Bersin, these meetings are supposed to include parent participation. What parent groups have been included, how were those groups chosen, how were the attendees from the parent groups chosen, and how are those same groups reporting back to their membership and the rest of the parents of the district? If it's only PTA and Parent Congress, then the vast majority of district parents are unrepresented.And why isn't there more public information about this whole process? The vast majority of parents in this school district do not have computers or Internet access. Why isn't there information in the newspapers, on TV, and being sent home to parents so they can make a choice about where or when they might provide their input? And why doesn't the City Schools website include a separate link in total Spanish from the main page, since over 40 percent of parents are Hispanic? This budget crisis is a serious problem for all parents and students of SDCS. They should have as much information as possible and as much opportunity to be heard as possible."Here is the SDCS partial answer:"The facilitated meetings were arranged/coordinated by the SDEA.... The attendee groups were identified jointly by the SDEA and Superintendent.... These meetings were not intended to be public meetings but rather an opportunity for union and district representatives to build new relationships and to open communications.... The district has numerous opportunities for parent input including via board members, board meetings, district council meetings, school site meetings etc."In other words, "Go away, you bothersome parent. We know what we're doing, and it only includes parents who don't ask questions."
Mike MacCarthy,Point Loma
Re: "Locals Only" in the April 9 issue of CityBeat. Your self-congratulatory, ostensibly insightful music critic Troy Johnson-whose criticism of new music is usually right on target or at least extremely knowledgeable, I must admit-writes that "[m]any consider" Christian rock "reverse blasphemy" since "rock is the realm of the debauched, an anti-holy ground reserved for misanthropes revolting against Puritan heritage.... To them I say: know your history. Rock stems from blues, and blues was all about sending it up to the (wo)man on high. Plus, rock's always been the music of the persecuted outcast... sinners are no longer the minority voice. If any group can claim persecution in today's philosophical clime, it's Christians."Are you goddamn kidding me, Johnson? "Christians" can "claim persecution... if any group can?" OK, I guess technically, if any group can, then that statement has a literal truth to it. But taken as a sentiment and a reality tied to the plane of existence we all experience as The Real World We Live In, 2003, Johnson, you are making a dubious claim at best here; and at worst, it's downright insulting and idiotic.Then you have the big balls but tiny brain to say, "Check your history. Rock comes from blues and blues was all about sending it up to the (wo)man on high."First off, the gospel influence in blues was a decidedly Christian, usually Southern Baptist and other Protestant-derived theology-based denominations that would have considered your "(wo)-" addition to the "man on high" completely wrong (judgment has always been the central theme of Christianity-original sin, hence judgment) and, ironically, totally blasphemous. And in putting that little PC parenthetical in there you've tipped your hand as to your superficial motives behind this completely hollow slant on the nature of rock 'n' roll and it's outsider history. You've decided to defend Christian rock as something that's not as inherently oxymoronic as, say, military intelligence or Christian militia.Christians are by far the ruling, dominant culture in America, and America is a world culture now so far reaching in its imperial subjugation of other cultures and spiritual beliefs that natives in the Amazon probably think Jesus drank Coke and wore Levi's. To somehow suggest that Christians are "persecuted" is one of the biggest insults to intelligence and common sense I've ever read. For the record, blues was the devil's music, as any cursory reading of black music history in America will tell you. Pick up Amiri Baraka's Blues People, just for starters, Johnson. It's obvious you need to check your history. The blues was the music of the truly persecuted outsider, the feared, the hated and the demonized Black man. It's bad enough whites have co-opted a music so purely human that at it's very core it could hold the two extremes of existence (the glory of the divine spirit of redemption music supplies and "the hellhounds on my trail" darkness of being truly enslaved) within it; but now we have to hear Christians claim this music as their own? Worse, that they are somehow the persecuted "outsiders" now?Please, Mr. Johnson. Pick up a book, turn off the MTV2, and brush up on your history. You'll find time after time whites (and what is modern Christianity if not the perfect embodiment of the White God?!) apologizing for their judgmental, prejudicial thought-control religions and systems by co-opting more real, more human spiritual expressions that originate in the cultures they have so effectively subjugated (i.e. blues, jazz, hip-hop). Privileged white kids who have the money to bankroll their otherwise unpopular and clearly ridiculous attempts to play a type of music-"Christian rock"-that makes about as much sense as "Jewish Nazi rock," can never be considered "persecuted."Maybe they feel ostracized by the other young people because they come from a place so privileged and judgmental that the other kids intrinsically know that they are propagating a form of cultural genocide. They are using the tools of the oppressed to try to make themselves "acceptable" in the oppressed's subcultural art forms. So give me a break with your faux-outsider opinions, Troy Johnson. You are nothing but a Christian apologist now. And that's a term that will never be oxymoronic, it's so completely redundant. Because abominations like "Christian rock"' will always give Christians one more thing they need to apologize for.
Bill Blake,Mission Valley